I had the good fortune of moving to Escondido in 1967. I have lived here, gone to school here, worked here, worshiped here, fell in love here, was married here and, in turn, we raised our family here. I currently serve as a City of Escondido Councilman representing District 4. There have been so many important and crucial events, issues, challenges and calamities over the past several decades here in our fine town, but I have not been sufficiently motivated to express my opinion on these issues via an Op-Ed … until now.
On Wednesday of last week, June 3, there was an organized event held at City Hall. The organizers had stated the purpose as follows: “We will take a knee in a period of silence to honor Mr. Floyd’s life and to re-commit ourselves to racial justice and community unity.” A very good idea where city leaders, the police chief and interfaith leaders could join community residents to demonstrate commitment to racial justice and community unity in Escondido.
Amongst the speakers was one of my City Council colleagues. My colleague began her remarks with a comment that referred to Escondido and its history of racism.
So this premise, Escondido a city with a history of racism, then became a catalyst to her nine points of reform that she wants for our City and our city Police Department. Amongst those points presented were calls for reforms to police and city hiring practices and other changes. She called for the collection and study of racial statistics in traffic stops, hiring of more women and diverse applicants in law enforcement, requirements of police to have a degree in sociology or psychology, city (citizen?) input in hiring police chiefs and captains and fewer hires with military backgrounds.
Taking these comments point by point to dismantle would take a lot of time and could be an exercise in futility. Suffice it to say that many of these reforms are based on individual sentiments and not facts or reality. As a few examples, discriminating against men and women who have served our Country in the Military by precluding them from being hired by the EPD is preposterous. Taking the authority from the City Manager for one of his most important responsibilities, hiring the Chief of Police, is foolhardy at best.
These were not only inappropriate comments at this event, but they come off as opportunistic and counterproductive for the atmosphere and purpose of the rally. And they are inappropriate as a whole as they pertain to the EPD.
Perhaps this is a precursor to the inane cries for defunding or dismantling police departments across the land. But this Escondido! The EPD has amazing men and women of all ethnicities, backgrounds and circumstances that have dedicated their very lives to protect and serve the citizens of Escondido. I fully support our Chief of Police, Ed Varso and all of the men and women who make up this department. Chief Varso, like his predecessor Craig Carter, leads by example. He and his department have demonstrated their professionalism and, again, their dedication and we have a system that not only works, it is a system that is exemplary!
With all of the activities of this past week in Escondido, on several fronts and while under “social media” and news outlet attacks, the men and women of the EPD demonstrated how to communicate, how to participate, how to ingratiate and how to de-escalate. So many have expressed their gratitude to our City team and in particular the EPD. What we witnessed were peaceful demonstrations rife with passion for just causes of great concern and importance. All handled flawlessly by the EPD and neighboring law enforcement agencies.
Now is not the time to fracture the service and safety provided us by our system and team of the EPD. Now is the time to continue on the cutting edge progression, education and training of all areas and personnel of the EPD. This is what they have been doing for years and will continue to do in order to optimally protect and serve all who make up the City of Escondido.
Mike Morasco can be reached for comment at